Kick off the new school year right with supplies that won't break the bank—or Mother Nature. From plantable pencils and beeswax crayons to backpacks made from recycled water bottles, here are a few of our favorite eco-friendly ways to be a class act.
Each year, your child's brown-bagged lunch creates nearly 67 pounds of waste! Eat eco-friendlier with these stainless-steel nesting containers, perfect for snacks, soups, salads, and more. The 3-piece kit, along with all of U-Konserve's other reusable products, are always free of BPA, phthalates, and lead. The best part: This certified B Corporation also helps local schools go green and donates a percentage of all sales to eco-orgs like 5 Gyres (so you can feel even better during lunchtime).
These adorable Parkland backpacks aren't only made out of recycled water bottles, but they also come with a lifetime warranty to help keep more waste out of landfills. Equipped with a pocket for your (reusable!) water bottle, each backback also has inside storage pockets and extra-comfy carrying mesh straps.
Once these pencils have been used and sharpened down to stubs, don't toss them—plant them with your little ones. Grow basil, tomato, sunflower, and more thanks to tiny biodegradable seed capsules at the end of each pencil which contain non-GMO seeds. Sprout's American-made pencils, crafted from FSC-certified cedar wood, are 100 percent natural and biodegradable. Snag this pack of eight graphite pencils, or six colored pencils with two graphite ($15.95), also available on Amazon.
The last thing your little one needs is to get sick the first week of school. To keep them germ-free on the go, slip CleanWell's all-natural, easy-spray sanitizer into their bags. Made from a botanical, alcohol-free formula (no more dry skin!), this kid-safe antiseptic is never tested on animals, extra gentle on their sensitive skin, and completely biodegradable.
Perfect for your older kids, this kit from EarthHero has everything they'll need to take star-student (and eco-friendly) notes. Each item is made from recycled and plant-based materials, from the bamboo and corn plastic pens to the recycled plastic gel highlighters. And when it comes to saving trees, this 120-page notebook is filled with pages made from sugarcane.
This carrier isn't just cute and cuddly—it's also helping to keep 24 plastic bottles out of the landfills. Apple Park's backpacks also feel as soft as cotton, but they're actually made from a water-resistant fabric that's completely washing-machine safe, too. Eco-friendly and easy to clean? Sign us up. Padded shoulder straps will keep your kindergartner extra comfortable en route to the classroom while inside pockets leave plenty of room for stashing supplies or an extra snack to calm first-day jitters.
Want to inspire them to craft, create, and be eco-conscious? Eco-Kids's American-made crayons are 100 percent non-toxic, crafted from beeswax and colored with all-natural dyes. The crayons also come without any paper wrappings (less waste, and less pesky peeling!) and are packed in a recyclable box. And if you're looking for even more earth-friendly art supplies, this family-run business also offers non-toxic finger paints, face paints, and colored play dough for every little artist's needs.
Did you know the average person will use nearly 540 plastic sandwich bags a year? Help make your child's lunch (and yours!) just a bit greener by opting for Garnet Hill's reusable sandwich and snack bags. Made from recycled PET fabric, these eco-alternatives are helping to keep more plastic waste out of landfills and require 53 percent less energy to produce than their single-use plastic counterparts. Each bag seals tight with Velcro® closure, is water-repellant, and BPA-free—plus they come in adorable prints.
Pass on packing your kids disposable plastic utensils and opt for this single sustainable solution: a two-in-one bamboo spork! Compact enough to fit into any lunchbox, U-Konserve's reusable alternative is perfect for little hands whether they're digging into salads, soups, or fruit cups. Each spork is also made from sustainably-harvested bamboo and is free of BPA.
Staying hydrated (and sustainable) doesn't have to be hard with Boon Supply's stainless steel water bottles. Available in yellow, navy, and mint, each 24 oz. bottle is built with double wall stainless steel, perfect for keeping your iced tea cold and your hot cocoa warm from morning until lunch. Plus, they're dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The best part is, 50 percent of every purchase gets donated to the crowdsourced charity of your choice.
Perfect for your diehard doodlers, these Brandless spiral notebooks are not only the perfect canvas for those tic-tac-toe matches in homeroom, but are also packed with 80 pages of FSC-certified college-ruled paper. Snag these essentials for $3 each and help donate a meal to a family in need with every purchase, thanks to Brandless's partnership with Feeding America. Now, there's an idea that's not too cool for school.